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Pig Ma
Registered User
(1/8/02 10:16 pm)
SRF member against the lawsuit
Here is the first letter I wrote to Mother Center after a visit to Ananda, regarding the lawsuit:

Dear Mother Center,        9-18-01

I have been going to Self Realization Fellowship for over 16 years, and have been a Kriyaban for close to 15 years. I recently had a severe case of poison oak that kept me home from work for 2 weeks. During that time I was often on the internet as a way to distract my mind from the relentless itching.

It was there that I discovered the Ananda website, and learned more fully about the lawsuits that the two organizations are involved in. There are usually two sides to a story. I was very impressed with Ananda’s spirit, and their invitation for the SRF board of directors to come to Ananda, and see for themselves what it was about.

I had been saving my scanty vacation time for another “event” that fell through. When that happened, I decided that even if those more directly involved with the situation would not go for a visit, I, myself, would go to check out this place called Ananda. I even emailed Brahmacharini Angelina, who I work with at Girl’s Youth Retreat, of my intentions. It is very important to me to be above board about any actions I have taken.

I arrived at Ananda with my SRF shirt on. I was greeted with a joyful warmth, and as the days unfolded I began to see why Master had such an enthusiasm for brotherhood colonies. Environment is so strong, and I was surrounded by a community of other souls who are sincerely seeking to put God first in their lives through Master’s teachings. I felt totally at home. Any differences between the two were charming, not divisive. I especially loved their Sunday Service, which was joyful, participatory, and inviting to all who came, no matter what their spiritual path may be. Because of the Expanding Light Retreat Center, there were people at the service who came from all walks of life. Not one went away without being touched by the soul stirring message of Master’s teachings.

It was my intention to dig deep, and really investigate this place and people of Ananda. What I found were spiritual brothers and sisters who I felt like I had known for lifetimes. They offered me their unconditional love, despite the fact I am part of an organization that has used litigation in a way that has deeply affected their community.

I can’t help but remember the painful lessons history has to offer. While at Ananda I awoke from sleep one morning in tears, because two stories from a movie I had seen years ago about the Japanese camps during World War II came to my mind. Our great and wonderful country had acted shamefully. As one man was being forced into the camp, he cried out, “But I am an American citizen!” It mattered not, he was banished with the rest. An older man was asked, “Who do you want to win the war?” He replied sorrowfully, “When your mother and father are fighting, you do not think of who you want to win. You only want them to stop fighting.”

That is how I feel. The lawsuit is a shameful way to treat those who are our brothers and sisters on this great path, and the highest way would be to stop the litigation, now. There is enough craziness in the world without adding our own, which is not only harming the two organizations involved, but is harmful to organized religion in general. If we, who have the greatest teachings on the planet earth cannot mend our fences and go on, how does that affect how others view us, and how they may be even be turned off before they know how wonderful these teachings are?

I have talked to one of the spiritual directors of Ananda, and the invitation is still very much open, despite all that has happened in the past. I urge you, and all members of Self Realization Fellowship, to visit Ananda. The laurel branch is still being offered. Let us sit and meditate together in one of the spiritually richest places on the planet earth; a brotherhood community like the one Master had envisioned so many years ago.

In Loving and Joyful Fellowship,

XXXX(really, I have no need to not tell my name, but I get the impression that is how it is done on this board?)

Since then I've received some "interesting" emails. (Yes, I have read anandainfo. I've also read anandaanswers, and I echo Gray beard's comments on another thread.) Personally, I loved the people of Ananda, and have made many friends there, but I am still very much an SRF member. I am married to a non-devotee husband, and we are happy in our current living situation.

Are there any other SRF members who are actively taking a position against this lawsuit? I would love to hear from you!

Registered User
(1/8/02 10:46 pm)
Re: SRF member against the lawsuit
You used the "A" word in a letter to mother center? You are sure enough on their black list! (You are in good company though)

What is happening to the youth of today? ;)

Registered User
(1/8/02 11:31 pm)
Thanks for your letter
Dear Pig Ma,

Your letter describes a wonderful cross-pollination that I've always hoped could happen more often. Thank you for sharing it with us, and for sending it to SRF. Gutsy move!

You mentioned:
"Personally, I loved the people of Ananda, and have made many friends there, but I am still very much an SRF member. I am married to a non-devotee husband, and we are happy in our current living situation."

I appreciate your openness and energy to check out Ananda. It's an open invitation to anyone here too. People naturally find their own comfort level with whatever (or no) organization that suits them personally in their circumstances and temperament. I'm glad you have also. You have my prayers for Master's blessings in your life whichever way he guides you home to him.

Jai Guru!


Registered User
(1/9/02 10:45 pm)
Mille Grazie, Pig Ma!
Thank you for your kind and honest words. I hope we all can be so honest as you've been and continue to seek and appreciate our similarities and differences. I look forward to that day! Oink! (Like that name!)

Unregistered User
(1/11/02 9:33 pm)
Your letter, Pig Ma
A beautifully written letter, Pig Ma. It has a wonderful, evenminded tone; I can't see how anyone could see that as threatening. I think you mentioned in another thread that Mother Center never responded. This is one of the sad aspects of so many of these tales--the sincere concerns of so many go unanswered. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I just can't see how an organization that apparently refuses to reflect on itself, using its membership to do so, can survive for long. The leaders in SRF have to start trusting the children of God who are its members.

Like you, I've never been comfortable with the lawsuits against Ananda, particularly all these copyright lawsuits. If we are to believe the good folks at Ananda, SRF has lost at every step of the way and has been berated by the judge. I'm left to conclude, unless someone can tell me otherwise, that SRF's sole intention is to bankrupt Ananda and thereby "win." What are they afraid of?...well, we know some of the reasons--the projected fears and enemies and shadows. Personally, I can't see Ananda as a threat to SRF. Your quote below is excellent:

If we, who have the greatest teachings on the
planet earth cannot mend our fences and go on, how does that affect how
others view us, and how they may be even be turned off before they know how
wonderful these teachings are?

I was glad to hear your comments about your visit to Ananda. I've never been there, but I appreciate the welcome the Ananda folks have extended to all us SRF members. I must say, too, that I've been most impressed by the quality of contributions made to this board by all the Ananda members.

To add a bit of balance, for what it's worth, a friend who works at MC told us that whenever staff become aware of Ananda members visiting, they are instructed to give them a warm welcome, to let them visit Master's shrine, etc.

Registered User
(3/8/02 10:52 pm)
Re: SRF member against the lawsuit
That was a powerful letter, I believe. I have not taken any actions against the lawsuit, other than express my opinion here on these boards. When I first read the Path I thought 'wow, more great information on S. Yogananda. This is amazing.' I greatly enjoy and appreciate JDW's literature and especialy "Sayings of Yogananda" its one of my favorite books. Call me naive, traitor to SRF or whatever, but the sayings of Yogananda, how written in that book, have as truthful ring in them as I've ever seen. Very raw Yogananda's spirit. I love it.

I once asked a monk showing me Mt. Washington grounds if he has ever read the "Christ Consciousness" by N. Paulsen, and he said something like "no way." I was thinking that's his free choice, but there's some stories of Yogananda that he's missing out on, oh well.

I do not know all the details of the lawsuits, but from what I do know, no one has a monopoly on truth, nor Yogananda, or even his name. Why SRF would want to copyright "self-realization" or Yogananda's name is uncomprehensible to me (if that is really part of the law-suit). It is, in fact, the raw dynamism, spontainity, and "laws are made for man, not man for laws" attitude that P. Yogananda so carried, while he was in the body, that drew me very much toward him and his teachings. He disregarded many traditional guidelines and initated his own ideas, pure inspiration from the Spirit within. Most inspiring. Even today many kriya yoga teachers and 'experts' say that kriya it is not supposed to be distributed to the masses, like P. Yogananda did, but the master asks in the AOY, "if there so few saints and so many people, how is the average man supposed to learn to know God, if not through written lessons, written by true saints?" This is the unconventional pragmatic thinking of a modern saint. In contrast SRF of today is making sure everything is copyrighted and protected legally, and that even Yogananda's name and photo are to be "politically correct".
Because of this,unfortunately, as much as I love and appreciate SRF, I don't feel that spirit of Yogananda as I know it to be.

I understand some people (ex-followers) brought P. Yogananda to court, and he did defend himself, but has he ever done that to someone?

Pig Ma
Registered User
(3/9/02 7:01 am)
Re: SRF member against the lawsuit
Dear Redpurusha,

I appreciate your comments. As far as whether Master directly sued someone, I am not sure.

The part of the lawsuit about the copyrights on self realization and Masters names are over, with Ananda winning. What saddened me about this aspect of the case is that even though many other groups came forward with declarations against SRF having the copyright on self realization, SRF still appealed that decision to the extent that the law would allow. It's a very expensive process. In this case the ruling of the court made such common sense, I am sorry that SRF was not able to accept it and move on.

I, too, love the writings of JDW, and I'm grateful they are available. You make some very good points about Master's decision to help the masses with the written lessons. Since I came to the spiritual path through the written word, I value what it has to offer.

Registered User
(3/9/02 10:15 am)
Re: SRF member against the lawsuit
By 'Sayings of Yogananda' I meant "Essence of Self-realization" (compilation of sayings of Yogananda by JDW). I treasure this literature as much as I treasure the AY and God Talks with Arjuna. These are the things as a disciple you would hang around the Master, waiting to hear.

Registered User
(5/27/02 12:32 am)
thank you Pig Ma
Pig Ma and Chuckle and you other Walri

yes yes yes

the quote that caught chuckle's attention is deserving of attention

my sentiments exactly

i too know angelina from even before she went in the ashram, and from giving her parents rides to the chapel in richmond after she left the richmond chapel for los angeles

if you still have a copy of your letter to her or the email to her, i will forward it to her, with a cover note telling her that no response is uncharacteristic and raises a few questions that could perhaps be aired

she might even respond to one such as myself, who, though it was a small amount, contributed to her "dowry" as she entered the fear farm

hope that poison oak has healed and won't return

the time or two when i was with kamala at ananda when they opened their hearts and homes to her were special.
i would go again

community, rural living, child-focused hearts and energy is a balm and a good way of life.

i like ananda when the orchard is blooming and the children run like deer

thank you for the tone of everyone's posts in here, it is thoughtful and gentle, i hate to leave..

...like the breezes, seasons and the moon in the oaklands and open lands of california....our feelings are vital and lively like a folk dance, when our natures are reflrctive, forgiving and healing

thank you
....dave richmond ca

Pig Ma
Registered User
(6/19/02 6:16 am)
Re: thank you Pig Ma
Hi Soul Circle,

Sorry, I hadn't noticed this post until just now.

Bri Angelina did email me back after the letter. It didn't address the substance of what was written, it was more in the lines of letting me know that she received it, and I remember it as having a loving tone as far as our personal relationship was concerned.

So it sounds like you use to live at Ananda? Again I'll say I love your poetic way of expressing yourself, here and elsewhere. Yes, Ananda is a lovely place. On my last visit the deer had antlers still new with fuzz, and the meadows sang out their green glory from the spring rains.

Registered User
(7/30/02 9:37 pm)
I think you are forgetting Ananda and SFR are businesses in the sense they have people who make their living off the organizations. It's not like they have jobs and would survive if people stopped comming and contributing to their "non-profit churches." The need to sell books, and lessons, and tapes, and get people to visit and take programs to make a living. To buy food and toothpaste and new cars and whatever else people need.

Ananda started publishing SFR's books. Why? Well ananda would tell you its cause SRF left out something or edited some little passage about something.....the real reason....MONEY! I would also say the leader of Ananda is pissed about being kicked out of SRF and wants revenge. This is based on what I have read from others who hung out with him.

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